WILMINGTON, N.C., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- As Hurricane Irene roared over North Carolina this weekend, the staff at a Wilmington hospital was kept busy delivering dozen babies, officials say.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center officials said the babies were born during a 17-hour lockdown as the storm swirled, and another eight women were in labor, ABC News reported. Hospital spokeswoman Martha Harlan said the hurricane babies amounted to a 30 percent spike at New Hanover, which delivers about 4,000 babies each year.
Harlan said two couples appeared to be considering the name Irene as a middle name for the new additions to their families.
"I fully expected that delivering a baby in August meant it would be hot and muggy," new mother Andi Curtis of Carolina Beach said. "But I never thought hurricane would be an issue.
"I could see out the window but honestly I really wasn't paying attention during labor and delivery."
Dr. Robert Welch, director of the obstetrician and gynecology program at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., said the drop in barometric pressure during hurricanes can impact pregnancies.
"With the fall in barometric pressure seen around these weather events, maternal amniotic membranes [bag of waters] tend to rupture more easily, thus initiating spontaneous labor," Welch told ABC.